Apr 10, 2023 - News

Cuyahoga County's persistent population loss

Change in Ohio population, 2020 to 2022
Data: U.S. Census; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Cuyahoga County's population continues to tumble, per the latest U.S. Census estimates analyzed by Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick.

Driving the news: Across 88 Ohio counties, Cuyahoga ranked 85th in population percentage change from July 2020 to July 2022.

  • Only Scioto and Lawrence counties on the Ohio/Kentucky border, and Athens County, home to Ohio University, lost more people during that timespan.

State of play: All major Ohio metro areas (including Cleveland) saw more residents move away than move in, a trend caused by rising housing costs and more flexible remote work.

Yes, but: Cuyahoga County's population decline was the most pronounced among the urban counties, with more deaths than births and far more domestic outmigration than international immigration.

  • Cuyahoga County welcomed more than 3,300 international immigrants in 2022, up from 1,200 in 2021 and only 100 in 2020.
  • But that failed to make up for the nearly 25,000 people who moved away in 2021 and 2022.

Zoom out: Ohio lost 0.35% of its population in the two-year time frame, all while an expensive national marketing campaign trumpeted the state as a cheaper alternative to coastal metro areas.

The intrigue: Columbus' suburban counties, where the population continually grew over the two-year period, remain a notable exception, Axios Columbus reports.

  • Ohio's top two counties in population growth were Union and Delaware, with Licking County and its under-construction Intel plant coming in at No. 7.
  • These counties are emergent hotbeds for new warehouses, data centers and other major development projects attracting thousands of workers.

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